Recover right!

Tired AthleteTraining creates stress impulses, and these stress impulses create adaptive responses in the body.  This adaptation can be either functional or non-functional. As athletes, we always aim for functional adaptations that improve performance.

Humans are adaptive machines, but we cannot always predict the ways in which our bodies will react. One workout sequence may develop your performance perfectly well for one training cycle and yet in another have a totally different effect. The way we influence the body to adapt functionally is through progressive increases in training load and also through recovery!

Athletes spend a lot of time adapting to an increasing training load. However, what is often left out is the other component of the equation, which is recovery.

Training + Recovery = Optimal (functional) adaptation = performance

The key is to optimize both components of the equation to achieve optimal adaptation and thus performance.

Everyone pretty much agrees that 1) a 3-4 week cycle of progressive increases in training load including a week of decreased training load; and 2) specific days off are very important to ensure adequate recovery. What is often missed or neglected is an intentional approach to recovery between workouts. Having an intentional recovery protocol between training bouts prepares the athlete more quickly for the next session and maximizes the opportunity to improve quickly.

Not being intentional and implementing a recovery protocol means athletes leave huge opportunities for performance gains on the table. They cannot train as hard, as long, or as often. Here are some key thoughts to take way.

Before workouts:

  1. Eat & Drink – Ensure you have a pre workout meal and enter the workout well hydrated. Do not force the body into energy or hydration deficit before workouts.
  2. Warm up – Perform a complete warm up before executing a hard workout. Dynamic stretching, a slow jog/ride, and drills are excellent. This will maximize blood flow to the tissues, stimulate neuromuscular pathways, increase performance, and reduce injury risk.

During workouts:

  1. Eat & Drink – Ensure you walk into each workout with an appropriate nutrition & hydration plan for the intensity & duration of the workout. Execute the plan.

After workout recovery:

  1. Cool down – Perform an adequate cool down after a hard workout. Walk it out. Return muscles from a state of high tension to relaxation.
  2. Stretch – Always stretch and do it while still warm to ensure your muscles stay flexible.
  3. Eat & Drink – Eat your post workout recovery meal within 30 minutes of the workout including both protein (non soy) & carbohydrates to maximize the opportunity muscle resynthesis and to restore glycogen stores. This is especially important for women. Restore fluids lost through exercise.
  4. Ice – Ice joints and sore tendons after workouts.
  5. Rest/Nap – Put your feet up & get a cat nap. Nothing good comes from executing a hard workout and then standing on your feet all day.

Every day:

  1. Eat – Ensure your diet is healthy & you are not in a low energy state. Eat fruit, nuts, seeds, vegetables, lean protein (non soy), and lean dairy throughout the day – 5 times a day to manage energy stores and blood sugar levels. Ensure you have the nutritional components to build muscle in response to training demand
  2. Massage – Roll your muscles to maintain flexibility & eliminate tightness
  3. Sleep –  Human Growth hormone, essential to muscle repair & growth, is released as you sleep (typically in the 2-3rd hour of sleep). You get stronger when you sleep not when you are awake. So get to bed at a reasonable time & sleep.

Like training, where consistency is king, recovery benefits from a consistent approach as well.

Be intentional. Recovery is training.

USA Cycling Certified Skills Instructor certification

SLC_logo+name_webSept 10 2018 – Startline coaching is pleased to announce that Head Coach Peter Helling is now accredited as a USAC certified skills instructor, joining approximately 50 other coaches nationally who hold this certification.

Bicycle handling skills are an essential foundation for all recreational and competitive cyclists & triathletes. Often neglected in preference for physiological development, handling skills provide tools to allows riders to ride safely, enjoy the thrill and camaraderie of riding in groups, progress rapidly as racers, and improve overall race performance.

USAC certified skills instructor certification is targeted specifically toward preparing cyclists to group ride and race: focusing on contact, position, communication, collaboration, predictability, and riding assertively to protect the riders front wheel in increasing complex and crowded riding situations.

The certification is based upon the USAC Beginning Racer Program aimed at preparing first time racers. This program enables racers to move quickly from entry level categories to higher level categories.

PrintThis new certification adds to Coach Peter’s existing accreditation as a USAC Level 2 cycling coach w/ distinction and USAT Level 2 triathlon endurance coach. USCycling_Coach

Located in Brooklyn NY, Startline coaching offers group & individual training programs for triathletes, runners, and cyclists.

Please contact Coach Peter if you are interested in a coaching program or club cycling clinics to develop solo and group bike handling skills. Boost your performance as a cyclist or multi-sport athlete.


What is base building?

Base building is the general phase of the annual training plan/progression where an athlete develops the fitness or chronic training load to complete their goal races. Each race has a specific demand in terms of overall training preparedness.

Focus areas:

  • Increase overall training duration to target peak training load by end of base period
  • Develop pace & power in line with a specific (10) % improvement target
  • Improve skills especially in the swim and bike handling
  • Address strength imbalances & weaknesses and other performance limiters

The workouts throughout the base should be sufficiently targeted and frequent to elicit a specific training response for each focus area. The way to get better at anything is repetition.

Elite athletes prepare with significantly higher target training loads for their A-races than do age-groupers. The guidelines below are informative. Intermediate athletes should consider the lower end of each range when setting the target training load  As you become a more durable athlete over multiple seasons, consider higher training loads in your annual training plan balancing work, home, and rest.

Target CTL Chart



Often athletes believe base development is all about going low & easy, and the build phase is about working hard with high intensity. I would prefer to look at it as a general & specific phase in order to be more precise.

  • Base (General) – Developing your chronic training load (CTL) or fitness to a level that is appropriate to your goal race.
  • Build (Specific) – Executing specific training that simulates race intensities, requirements, and conditions.

The Specificity Principle is a principle that states that exercising a certain body part, component of the body, or particular skill primarily develops that part or skill.

Each event that an athlete trains for has specific intensity, duration, and skill requirements. Assuming a well developed base has been developed during the general phase, each athlete should turn to executing race simulation workouts each week when approx. 8-10 weeks away from their goal race. Specific workouts should become the predominant focus.


This means that during the specific phase, long course athletes will tend to execute longer lower intensity workouts, while short course athletes will focus on higher intensity workouts. General development for these two types of athletes could be quite similar in structure, but the annual training plans will diverge as each athlete enters the specific phase of their annual training progression.

Simulate your race by executing workouts on terrain that matches or is more difficult than your goal race, practicing your race nutrition, and pacing at the intensity you intend to execute for your race.

Another way to to think about specificity: There are no miracles on race day, just execution of what you have already practiced and experienced in training.


2018 Open Sky Training camp calendar

Prepare for your A race with a multi-day training camp experience.

ost-logoOpen Sky Training camps offer extensive coach contact, 12-56 mile open road rides with specific workout prescriptions aimed at race events, small group swim skills development at Bard College pool, open water lake swims, and sport specific clinics. Run & ride beautiful vistas, combine routes to go any distance, and enjoy delicious food in the company of fellow athletes.

2018 Camp schedule:

  • May 18-20 – Led by Startline Coaching – Coach Peter
  • June 8-10 – Led by Startline Coaching – Coach Peter
  • June 22-24
  • August 3-5


The camp is fully catered (the food is outstanding) and includes accommodations while spots in the house last

2018 spring season training program kicks off – 1/20/18

For the fourth year in a row, Start Line Coaching is offering a spring triathlon training program. Aimed at developing experienced athletes, the program is designed for an athlete to peak for Quassy Half Ironman or Olympic or a race close to that date. Get your training and racing off to a good start with some structure, camaraderie, and enjoy the beauty of the park in the winter.

Athletes are streamed (basic, intermediate, advanced) based upon current fitness and athletic progression. Focus is on skills mastery, functional strength, race strategy and pacing, and aerobic development. Athletes meet twice a week for group training sessions. Solo workouts are prescribed throughout the remainder of the week.

This USAT sanctioned program will develop your fitness, skills, and knowledge of the sport so that you compete at a new level of proficiency.

Details & registration materials can be found here: 2018 spring triathlon training Any questions contact Coach Peter.

Kickoff & registration for the Start Line Coaching “2017 spring triathlon training program” is at 7:30 am on 1/20/18 @Connecticut Muffin, Corner of Prospect Park West & 15 St in Brooklyn.

Please bring your completed paperwork or register on site. Workout begins at 8:00 am sharpish!


Follow Coach Peter on twitter @startlinecoach


USAT Level 2 Endurance Certification

PrintNov 22 2017 – Start Line Coaching is pleased to announce that Head Coach Peter Helling is a certified USAT Level 2 Endurance coach, joining the approximately 50 other coaches nationally who hold this certification.

USAT Level 2 Endurance certification, targeted specifically toward coaching higher level long course Half Ironman & Full Ironman athletes, complements Peter’s 10+ years of experience coaching at all distances: Sprint through Full Ironman.

This new certification adds to Coach Peter’s existing accreditation as a USAC Level 2 cycling coach w/ distinction.

Please contact Coach Peter if you are interested in a coaching program to develop your run, bike, swim or overall triathlon performance. Located in Brooklyn NY, Start line coaching offers group & individual training programs for triathletes, runners, and cyclists.